Right now the sun is setting behind the World Trade Center, and the light at the top of its new spire is blinking urgently -- in contrast to the red light at the top of the Empire State Building, which glows at a sort of pulsing, romantic pace.
Next door, Manhattan Borough Hall has what looks like a castle sitting on its roof. Below it, Pace University squats where the New York Tribune Building used to stand. And next to it, a freeway entrance occupies the former address of the New York World building.
They were beautiful buildings, the kind that make me feel warm and happy. I don't understand how people could have torn them down and called it progress.
When I look out my window, I see these monuments to different mindsets. And the mindset of the last 60 years or so has been butt-ugly.
That's why I'm obsessed with claiming a little corner of the Potter Building for Tarbell, on the old newspaper row, and rescuing it from the damage inflicted by its previous owner. I want to tear down the drop ceilings, and restore the interior columns, and save the little details on the ceiling.
I want to resurrect the spirit of a less efficient, less urgent, more thoughtful time.